Weekend Warrior: Three Days in Moab – Onion Creek

I recently got to join Brian and his family on their sometimes-annual pilgrimage to Moab, UT.  Brian’s been riding motorcycles with his dad and brother since he was about 5 years old.  Moab is sort of a meet-in-the-middle destination, with his parents heading up from Arizona and his brother’s family/friends heading in from Idaho.  Moab is just a short 4-hour drive for us from Summit County, but we might as well be visiting Mars for all the similarities it has to our alpine environment!  In the spring and fall, it provides a much-appreciated break from the snow and cold.  I’m not usually a fan of weekend-warrioring, but as I am busier and busier at work and in life, I’m just glad to have a few days off to go play!!

Since we were staying with family, we opted to camp in a campground in town, with showers.  We stayed at Pack Creek Campground, which is in a godd location near Sand Flats Recreation Area.  It’s a typical campsite in Moab – lots of gravel parking for everyone’s many vehicles, lots of kids running around and lots of motorcycles/ATVs.  This campground didn’t have much for views, although we got the one nice spot on the creek.  It did have decent bathrooms and a sink for dishes, although the ladies’ bathroom had a major sewer issue while we were there, so I ended up using a porta-potty anyways.  I would always rather camp in Salt Flat Recreation Area, where we stayed in 2012.  It’s a primitive campground, so there’s no water or flushable toilets.  It’s totally worth the “roughing it” experience for the relative quiet (except during the day when everyone is riding the Slickrock trails), spread-out tent sites and beautiful scenery.

Our campsite at Sand Flats Recreation Area during a previous trip. A little more primitive!

Our campsite at Sand Flats Recreation Area during a previous trip. A little more primitive!

One of the things I really love about Moab is the variety of play-options every single day.  We brought gear to SUP, ride motorcycles and run.  We could have also brought climbing, biking and hiking gear and been perfectly happy with that too.  There’s never a lack of things to do in Moab!  It’s truly the desert-adventurer’s dream come true.

The first day, we did a group motorcycle ride up Onion Creek Road, which takes off from Hwy 128, east of town.  This is a pretty mellow ride with some fun-factor, via LOTS of shallow creek crossings.  The guide book said 22 crossings one-way.  Dwayne, my Dad-in-Law, counted 35.  So that’s 70 crossings round-trip.  Let’s just say that my feet got wet!  It’s a stunning little canyon you ride up, which is quite narrow and steep.

Heading into the Onion Creek Canyon

Heading into the Onion Creek Canyon

 

 

Our umpteenth water crossing. Greg and Brian liked to wheelie through the water.

Our umpteenth water crossing. Greg and Brian liked to wheelie through the water.

It opens up in an area that is aptly called Stinking Springs and is full of sulfur deposits.  This little stretch looks (and smells) very surreal.  It’s like being on the moon.  Finally, you end up in Fischer Flats at the top end of a little green valley with beautiful blooming purple flowers.  We stopped for lunch at a beautiful overlook here.

Stinking Springs smells like... stinky?

Stinking Springs smells like… stinky?

 

Fischer Flats

Fischer Flats

Fischer Flats

Fischer Flats

 

 

Not a bad lunch view...

Not a bad lunch view…

 

Our intrepid bike gang

Our intrepid bike gang

There was snow on the road ahead, so we turned back and headed up the La Sal Loop Road, which connects up with Sand Flats. Luckily, it had been plowed, as we saw some snow at the top of the pass!  We even stopped and checked out some un-marked dinosaur tracks, which were really amazing.  All-in-all, it ended up being a little over 100 miles, which is a long day in the saddle!  I’m not ashamed to say that my ass was sore and I slept like a rock that night!!

Headed up the La Sals

Headed up the La Sals

 

Quick Dino break

Quick Dino break

 

Dino tracks

Dino tracks

 

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Snow at the top of the pass. I’m glad I packed a jacket!

 

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That’s me!

 

Heading back down through Sand Flats, with some stormy clouds headed in.

Heading back down through Sand Flats, with some stormy clouds headed in.

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Ginny

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